Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rep. Steve King: Televise Healthcare Talks

Rep. Steve King has issued a statement supporting C-SPAN’s request to broadcast congressional negotiations on healthcare reform, comparing the current closed-door talks to “Chicago-style gangster government.”

President Obama pledged during a presidential debate in January 2008 that he would be “bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.”

In a letter to House and Senate leaders released on Tuesday, C-SPAN Chief Executive Brian Lamb asked for negotiations on a compromise bill to be televised, as Democrats work to reconcile differences between legislation passed by the two chambers.

“We respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single America,” the letter read in part.

Rep. King, an Iowa Republican and member of the Subcommittee on Regulations, Healthcare and Trade, said in his statement issued on Wednesday: “In January 2008, candidate Obama pledged not to negotiate healthcare legislation ‘behind closed doors.’ Instead he committed to ‘broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN.’ There are serious differences between candidate Obama’s statements in 2008 and President Obama’s actions in 2010.

“Today, the healthcare legislation is being negotiated behind closed doors, and C-SPAN’s request to broadcast these negotiations is being rebuffed. Tuesday night President Obama and liberals in Congress decided to bypass conference committee debate to craft government-run healthcare legislation in secret in an effort to expedite its passage into law.

“These closed-door, back room dealings may be the norm in a Chicago-style gangster government, but they are not acceptable in our constitutional republic. Americans have a right to know what is going on so they can make their voices heard.

“When asked about President Obama’s pledge to allow C-SPAN access to healthcare debates, Speaker Pelosi dismissively said, ‘there are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.’ Apparently the speaker of the House doesn’t mind the idea of the president breaking his promises to the American people. But the American people do mind, and they expect President Obama to follow through on the promise he made to them on the campaign trail.”